Update: Added additional information as reported by The Korea Economic Daily.
The electric push is on as manufacturers race to position themselves for an EV future. Many companies have made verbal commitments to going all-electric, but Hyundai could be taking a bold step by ending the development of future internal combustion engines right now.
That's the word in an article from Business Korea that dropped just before Christmas. The website claims Hyundai Motor Group officially cut its engine development department at the company's Namyang Research Institute south of Seoul. The article also states the automaker's powertrain group was reorganized into an electrification development team, and that a battery development group was established.
The Korea Economic Daily also reports the closure, citing unnamed industry sources and an alleged email from Hyundai's new R&D chief Chung-Kook Park to employees stating: "Our own engine development is a great achievement, but we must change the system to create future innovation based on the great asset from the past."
There's been no official announcement from Hyundai regarding these claims. We've contacted Hyundai representatives to confirm the information and offer clarification if true. We will certainly update this article if new information becomes available.
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The rumor does coincide with a significant shakeup in upper-level management and reshuffling at Hyundai. Albert Biermann recently announced his retirement as the company's R&D head, and design boss Peter Schreyer is also moving to a new role. The automaker also announced upwards of 200 various executive promotions, with over one-third occurring in the R&D division.
"Many of the new appointments represent the next generation of leaders and have been recognized for their achievements and role in the ongoing success of the Group," said a company spokesperson in a statement regarding the personnel announcement.